UNADILLA MARKS MID-SEASON FOR AMA MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 11, 2005) -- Unadilla Valley Sports Center, in New Berlin, N.Y., will host round six of the 12-event AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF. At mid-season ...
UNADILLA MARKS MID-SEASON FOR AMA MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 11, 2005) -- Unadilla Valley Sports Center, in New Berlin, N.Y., will host round six of the 12-event AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF. At mid-season Makita Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael has built a commanding 69-point lead over Yamaha's lead rider Chad Reed. Carmichael is shooting for his sixth straight AMA 250 Motocross Championship and his fifth win at Unadilla.
While Carmichael is cruising along in the 250 class, things are a bit tighter in the 125 series. There it's veteran Mike Brown who carries a 24-point lead into Unadilla. Brown's season so far is a David versus Goliath story considering he rides for his own privately owned Jim's Motorcycle Sales Honda squad and is up against the giant factory teams.
Five-time AMA 250 Motocross champ Carmichael comes to the famous Unadilla National this year riding a brand new motorcycle in the Suzuki RM-Z450 and facing perhaps the most talented field he's ever faced in his nine seasons as a pro. In spite of these challenges Carmichael is proving that he's in the prime of his career. His 69-point lead after five rounds is the largest he's enjoyed in his six seasons in the 250 class at this point in the season.
Carmichael remains unbeaten this year and is coming off a win in Buchanan, Mich., over the July 4 holiday weekend. The victory was his 54th-career AMA 250 national win and doubled the mark of Hall of Famer Bob Hannah, who is second on the 250 wins list with 27.
"It was awesome to double Hannah's win record," Carmichael said. "I didn't even know that was a possibility coming into Red Bud. I just come to the races each week trying to put myself in a position to win races. Unadilla is a unique track with its speed and natural hills. I'm looking forward to the challenge that track presents."
Yamaha's Chad Reed saw his hopes of hanging with Carmichael dealt a major blow when the chain popped off his Yamaha in the first moto in Michigan. He's now trying to hold off a surging Kevin Windham in the battle for second in the championship.
Windham is coming off his best finish of the season and is the only other former Unadilla 250 winner other than Carmichael in the field. Windham ended a long winning streak by Carmichael at the track two years ago. He seems set to do battle in the second half of the season.
"I was on the road so much early in the season I lost a lot of weight and probably wasn't in the kind of shape that I could be in," Windham admitted. "With a few weekends off I've been home a lot more and that's really helped me. I've gotten back into a good training routine and hopefully that will pay off in the coming weeks. My win at Unadilla in 2003 was one of the most exciting of my career. I would love to be able to come back and duplicate that."
James Stewart was undefeated in the 125 class at Unadilla. The young Kawasaki ace still has the speed as a rider, but he's implied that he may be at a bit of a disadvantage as one of the few remaining riders in the 250 class racing the traditional 250cc two-stroke powered motorcycle against a field of 450cc four-stroke machines.
"I've been testing Kawasaki's four-stroke 450 and it's great," Stewart said. "They don't want to bring it out until its perfect so for now I'm racing the two-stroke. I'm going to do the best I can. Unadilla has been a great track for me, so we'll see what happens."
Brown, of Johnson City, Tenn., is on a mission to win his second AMA 125 Motocross Championship. The veteran leads the 125 series, but that lead narrowed after he scored his worst finish of the season in the last round in Michigan. Rival Ivan Tedesco is now only 24 points behind in the standings. Brown will be eager to get back on track at Unadilla. He is seeking his first win on the historic track.
The hottest rider in the 125 class coming into New York is South African Grant Langston. Langston took his third win of the year in Michigan and expects to be even stronger in the upcoming race after injuring his ankle in the first round back in mid-May.
"My ankle is feeling better with each passing week," said Langston, who won the Unadilla 125 race in 2001. "Hopefully I'll be able to get some good training in before Unadilla. I've done well there in the past and I need to keep my momentum going. I can't afford to have bad races."
Langston is a close third in the point standings.
A couple of New York riders are hoping to shine at Unadilla. Ryan Mills, of Clintondale, is coming off his first career podium finish in Michigan. The second-place result in the last round should give the Red Bull KTM rider a lot of confidence coming into a track he knows well. Robert Kiniry, of Skaneateles, and Paul Carpenter of Ithaca, are also two of the nation's leading 125 racers.
The Lucas Oil Pro Nationals at Unadilla Valley Sports Center will be televised nationally on OLN. For additional information on the event contact Unadilla Motorsports at (607) 965-8784 or visit the website www.unadillamx.com.